Any ideas for a more sustainable mobile telecom industry? (Video)


Image Credit: Ken Banks, Kiwanja

Here's a challenge for the new year: Help co-design solutions for mobile phones to improve sustainability. Imagine a phone that does not need to be charged, one that measures the drinking water quality in remote areas, one with an app that helps you save energy or one that does not leave behind any e-waste at the end of its life. Enviu, the Dutch innovators behind the sustainable dancefloor, the Hybrid Tuk Tuk project and the Open Source House competition, has just launched the online community Our Mobile Generation to design phones with the poeple for the people, and the environment. Enviu explains sustainability in the mobile telecom industry:

Mobile telecom is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide, with over 4 billion mobile phone users. In a country such as India, 10 million new subscribers become active each month. The mobile phone is a powerful piece of technology, but this growth also puts pressure on the planet's ecosystems. More than 140 million phones end up in landfills each year, and this e-waste is highly polluting. Conversely, in developing countries a mobile phone creates many opportunities for positive social impact. If 10 % of the people in developing countries would receive a mobile phone, the GDP would be increased by almost 1 %.

Bascially, Enviu offers 4 challenges:

Sustainable Smartphone

This should answer the question: How can we reduce the environmental impact of mobile phones? It's about the physical phone, and ideas such as how to avoid creating e-Waste, reduce the use of energy, and designing a phone that is eco-friendly in all the stages of its lifecycle.

Add-On Technology

Here the challenge is to exploit the full potential of phones by connecting other devices to it to analyse and share information, such as medical analises from remote areas or air quality.


These applications should help you live a more eco-friendly life. They should help people in different places around the world lead a better and more responsible life on a daily bases.

Sustainable Business Models

This is the category that deals with the value of the phones and challenges ideas such as phones for re-use, call miles or phones for the elderly.

enviu phone shop Our Mobile Generation photo

Image Credit: Ken Banks, Kiwanja

If you feel inspired, join Our Mobile Generation and share your wow! Ideas or contribute to the discussions. Enviu will present the results of the project to industry representatives in May 2011. Our Mobile Generation
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How Cell Phones Are Changing the Face of Green Activism
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118,000 Mobile Phone Towers to be Powered by Renewable Energy in Developing World
Mobile phones 'more dangerous than smoking'
Motorola's Bike Charger for Mobile Phones
Renewable Energy Mobile Phone Charging Station to Debut at Glastonbury Festival
Gotwind and Orange Launch Human Powered Mobile Phone Charger
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